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Music Review: Gavin Rossdale – WANDERlust

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Gavin Rossdale most notably known for being the front man of successful 90’s alt rock act Bush has released WANDERlust his first solo album.  This is his first solo release and most recent material since the 2005 solitary album by the band Institute, which he was in at the time.  WANDERlust has been released under Interscope Records.

Many may have been asking what happened to the guy in that grunge band from overseas that married Gwen Stefani.  Since 2002, the two have been happy and have managed to keep a very low profile lifestyle.  He is not only a husband but also a father and rumor has it there is another baby on the way.  Staying away from the media had many wondering if Gavin Rossdale would ever put forth new material.   

The album, he penned himself, collaborates with some high profile names in the music business.  Drummer Josh Freese (The Vandals, A Perfect Circle), guitarist Chris Traynor (Helmet, Bush), and keyboardist Jamie Muhoberac (session keyboardist credited with working with bands from Fleetwood Mac to Avenged Sevenfold) all assist Rossdale in making what Gavin calls an album that goes back to the his roots with Bush.

“Can’t Stop The World” is a strong opening track with Rossdale declaring “I don’t know what I was thinking, I’ve been gone too long”.  This track screams to be played on the airwaves and I am thinking a lot of Bush fans will really be excited to hear it.  I can’t say the second track “Frontline” followed with such vigor. In fact, it sounded like a whole different artist.

“Forever May You Run” carried his sexy voice throughout, but was just not pleasing to my ears.  It just was not what I would expect a onetime grunge guru to belt out and reminded me of, dare I say, Brian Adams.  “Drive” on the other hand was catchy at times but seemed overdone.  “Future World” reminded me of something that Peter Gabriel should have created alongside a crazy MTV video.  The lyrics are quick and seem to have no literal meaning with dub-like harmonies that just did not fit in with the rest of the music.

“If You're Not With Us You're Against Us” might be the closest thing resembling a Bush track on the album as it was much heavier and strayed away momentarily from the poppy feel.  “This Is Happiness” for a second these sounded like Primus at the beginning but soon morphed into quite an interesting track full of ups and downs and very unpredictable but turned out to be one of my favorite tracks on the CD.

Sorry Gavin, but “Another Night In The Hills” was one of the worst songs I have heard all year.  I hope the song was more of a satire about Paris Hilton over a music masterpiece.  Thankfully “The Trouble I’m In” made up for the previous track with a nice duet featuring Shirley Mason because two sexy voices equal one great track.

I really want to say I like this album a lot and could compare it to past Bush albums but the music that I have heard is much more irregular and rather adult contemporary.  Gavin Rossdale’s solo material is like listening to a whole new musician with no particular solid structure and should not be compared to the band he once fronted.  At times some of the songs provide very little evidence that the lead singer was once in a multi-platinum selling rock band.

It is a nice and different approach though and I really do see this CD getting a lot of attention from the people who used to go to “Grunge-Fest 1994” to see Bush play as those once flannel wearing clove cigarette smoking kids are now adults, many with families of their own.   The CD is toned down and simple and a hell of a lot better sounding than Gwen Stefani’s solo material.  Let’s hope Gavin Rossdale decides to give it another try as I really think he can outdo this first appealing, yet not so gratifying, attempt.

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